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As a nineteenth-century commentator described it, "On Christmas Eve, called in Manx, Oiel Verree, the Eve of Mary, a singular and interesting custom is observed, which attracts large numbers to the parish church for the purpose of singing carols, in Manx called Carval, and which appears to be peculiar to the Isle of Man. On this evening, the church having been decked with holly, ever greens, and flowers, after prayers the congregation commence singing their carols, which they keep up with a spirit of great rivalry until a late hour. On this occasion the church assumes a brilliancy seen at no other time, for each bring their own light, some of the candles being of large size, many of them formed into branches for the occasion, and adorned with gay ribbons. During the interval of the carols, peas are flung from all directions, the female portion of the singers having previously provided themselves with an ample stock to pelt their bachelor friends." One of the carols sung was John Byrom's "Christians awake;" the tune used is not reported, but H. W. Greatorex's tune "Beveridge" seems to fit the feeling of such an occasion well.

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Another carol that was reportedly sung at Oiel Verree was a version of "We wish you a merry Christmas:"

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,
A pocket full of money, and a cellar full of beer;
Long may you live and happy may you be,
With your best content and your fortune free.

God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children that around the table go;
For it is in the Christmas time we do travel far and near,
So we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Long may you live and happy may you be,
With your best content and your fortune free.

We have not come to your door to beg or to borrow,
But we have come to your door to drive away sorrow
For it is in the Christmas time we do travel far and near,
So we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year;
Long may you live and happy may you be,
With your best content and your fortune free.

When you go to your bedside your mind is on your sleep,
Your mind is not on Jesus Christ, who for our soul did weep
When you go to your hay-loft your mind is on your hay,
Your mind is not on Jesus Christ, born on a Christmas day.
Long may you live and happy may you be,
With your best content and your fortune free.
When you go to your stable your mind is on your horse,
Your mind is not on Jesus Christ, who suffered on the cross.
Who suffered on the cross, and happy may you be;
And the Lord send a joyful New Year.
Long may you live and happy may you be,
With your best content and your fortune free.

When you go to your liaggard [threshing floor] your mind is on your corn,
Your mind is not on Jesus Christ who wore a crown of thorn,
Who wore a crown of thorns, and a blessing may it be;
We'll never do for Jesus Christ what he has done for we,
Long may you live and happy may you be,
With your best content and your fortune free,

We have a purse it has nothing within,
Please give us something to put therein.
Long may you live and blessed may you be,
With the best content, and your fortune free.

Whatever the tune was is not recorded. A third carol was composed in the eighteenth century by the Rev. John Cosnahan (d. 1749), who was the Vicar-General appointed by Bishop Thomas Wilson of Sodor & Man to run the diocese when he was in London. This carol was written in Manx, but again the tune is not known, though most Common Meter tunes would fit the words:

Tan traa ain ceau, tán chor cheet er,
Caid vees yn ghless dy roie?
Myr shoh ta shin er nyn yurnah
As cosney gys yn oaie.

O M'annym! S'mennic ayns dty hraa,
Honnick oo yn shilley hreih;
Naboo lurg naboo cosney roish,
As dobberan vooar ny-yeih.

As myr gig imbagh veg my geayrt,
Shoh vees yn stayd ain hene;
Nyn gaarjyn vees my-geayrt y mooin
As cur nyn mannaight lhien.

Ny sniessey, as ny'sniessey tayrn,
Gys giattyn dowin yn oaie;
Kaad hie nyn dyraghyn rhymboo,
As hig nyn sluight nyn-yeih.
The Right Rev. Thomas Wilson, D.D. (1663-1755), Bishop of Sodor & Man 1697-1755. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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